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Montpelier to Host Student Symposium as Part of “Let ‘Em Shine” Initiative



Price A. Thomas
Director of Marketing & Communications
540.672.2728 ext.127

Montpelier to Host Student Symposium as Part of “Let ‘Em Shine” Initiative

Partnership with Albemarle County Schools uses grant funding to explore memorialization

ORANGE, VA - On Wednesday and Thursday, December 6th and 7th, Montpelier is excited to host nearly 200 students from Albemarle County Public Schools as part of the “Let ‘Em Shine” project, funded through an Educator Innovator grant from the National Writing Project and backed by singer-songwriter, John Legend. Focused on public memory, the goal of this project is for students to help unite the community by using what they learn at Montpelier and on other immersion-focused trips, to create a symbolic monument to a significant person, event, or era, that tells a broader story and honors our rich cultural history.

Scholars and experts from around the country will run workshops on the grounds of James Madison’s Montpelier to help the students answer some of the project’s looming questions, and help orient them towards their final product. A diverse and high-profile group of local and national of designers, museum professionals, media professionals, and educators, will be working with the students and tackling complex topics such as:

  1. What constitutes a monument?  Why do we build monuments?
  2. What stories are we telling through our public memorials and monuments?
  3. Who decides who is memorialized?
  4. What are possible methods of memorialization?

An event of this magnitude is the first of its kind at a Virginia historic home, offering students the unique opportunity to engage with history and culture through interactive workshop-style learning and discussion.

About James Madison's Montpelier

Set on 2,650-aces in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Montpelier is the lifelong home of James Madison, 4th President of the United States and Father of the Constitution, and his wife, Dolley Madison, America’s First 1st Lady.  The site is administered by The Montpelier Foundation, and the grounds features the historic home gardens, tours, archaeological sites, 8+ miles of walking trails, and the new, multi-million dollar permanent exhibition exploring slavery and the American founding, The Mere Distinction of Colour. To learn more, visit or contact

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